Macau Casinos Lose out as Coronavirus Continues to Spread

  • Seven confirmed cases of coronavirus in Macau to date
  • Tourism rate has dropped by almost 50% since the deadly virus was identified
  • Ferries and planes curtailed for the time being, casinos may close if it gets any worse
nurse wearing respirator mask holding a positive blood test
Casinos in the Chinese territory of Macau have been left reeling by the spread of a deadly new coronavirus sweeping across Asia. [Image:]

Struggling to contain the virus

As China struggles to contain a deadly new coronavirus, the Chinese territory of Macau has suffered further blows.

The region has been hit with its own seven confirmed cases of the virus over the last few days. Stocks have also plummeted for casino giants MGM China Holdings Ltd, Sands China Ltd, Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd, and Wynn Macau due to Chinese New Year celebrations being canceled.

Tourism has dropped by more than 50%

Originating from the Chinese province of Wuhan, the coronavirus has already claimed more than 130 deaths in China. Confirmed cases have been reported as far across the world as America and Germany.

the coronavirus has already claimed more than 130 deaths in China

Last week, tourism chiefs in Macau made the decision to cancel Lunar New Year celebrations in Macau after evidence of a second confirmed case of the virus.

Due to fears over the crisis worsening, Macau Chief Executive Ho lat Seng gave the order to cancel festivities for the Year of the Rat from January 25 onwards. This period is known as Golden Week, as it’s of the biggest weeks for tourism in China.

The Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO) has since said that visits to the territory have almost halved, compared to the success of earlier years.

Seven confirmed cases

The seven people affected are currently in the care of the Government Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre. Previously, the tourists were thought to be staying at hotels including Galaxy Macau, Sands Cotai Central, and the Venetian Macau, although this is yet to be confirmed.

Lei Wai Seng, one of the center’s medical assistants, has said that although their clinical state hasn’t become any worse and that they were relatively low-risk patients, they wouldn’t be going home “anytime soon.”

Macau is incredibly popular with tourism from mainland China, mainly due to the fact that gambling is illegal there but encouraged in the territory. Over 90% of custom is from the mainland. However, the region has reported a decline in revenue in recent times due to stiff competition from Las Vegas and unexpected weather conditions.

GGR to take a big hit

While analysts had hoped that the impact on gross gaming revenue (GGR) would be negligible, reports of those infected rising to 1,500 has meant very bad news for gambling companies in the region.

Reuters has reported that arrivals in Macau have dropped by 69%, which has had an impact on share prices. Overnight, MGM China reported losses of 6%. Other operators were also hit with large share falls of more than 4%.

Transport links to the mainland have been curtailed, with flights and ferry services canceled until further notice.

While casinos remain open for now, Macau Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng will continue to evaluate the spread of the virus and hasn’t ruled out closing the gambling halls if it continues.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *